Robinson distorts history on Gilchrist
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Except when it plucked unheralded Sonny Ramadhin, Alfred Valentine and Garfield Sobers from obscurity, the WICB has not always been a paragon of enlightenment, as Gordon Robinson asserts in yesterday's column 'Heckles is not the problem'.
But he - and other revisionist historians - should not be allowed to get away with gross distortions of West Indies cricket history.
Roy Gilchrist's career was not ended by the WICB, even after he was sent home from India for repeatedly disobeying captain's orders not to bowl beamers at a batsman's head. It was ended in 1961 after Conrad Hunte (263) and Cammie Smith (127) smote him to all parts of Bourda for the unflattering figures of 2/177.
WICB did not delay appointing Frank Worrell as captain for 10 years (1950-1960). He was appointed vice-captain to Jeff Stollmeyer from as far back as 1953 vs MCC but, for reasons Michael Manley, Robinson, Beckles and others decline to explore, summarily replaced by others; he repeatedly declined offers of the captaincy after the ill-fated 1957 England tour because, quite sensibly, he was pursuing university studies in England which eventually landed him at the UWI.
As for his alleged refusal to tour India in 1949 over money matters, there is another more credible version: he wasn't selected because, in the midst of his very first Test, he left Queens Park Oval, Lara-like, to fetch someone from the airport.
As for WICB's alleged error in handing the captaincy to the "irresponsible but brilliant Gary Sobers" over Hunte, modern-day fans should know that by leading West Indies to its first-ever victory over Australia (1965), followed by wins over England (1966) and India (1967), it can be argued that Sobers - not Clive Lloyd - was the first captain to put West Indies at the pinnacle of world cricket.
I am, etc.,
ERROL W.A. TOWNSHEND